Will my library be Persephone Gray?

The new library here at My Porch is in desparate need of some paint. The previous owner had painted it a very  blah, ugly, dirty beige. At first I thought I was going to go for a very light and bright white since the room doesn’t get a whole lot of natural light. But the room also has this wood paneling with a rather pronounced wood grain. I thought that the white over the wood grain would neither hide nor enhance the grain pattern. So then we started thinking of colors and I kept being drawn to the row of Persephones on my shelves.Such a lovely gray, maybe I could do something like that. We looked through more Benjamin Moore grays than you would think existed. We narrowed it down to 7 that we wanted to see in the space.

That’s me back there on my porch painting sample boards.

Painting large pieces of foam core with the seven paint samples.
Here are the 7 colors. Do you have a favorite? There was a color that was very close to the Persephone gray, but we thought it was too light for what we wanted so we didn’t get a sample of that one.
They look very different inside and out of the natural light.
We had already narrowed it down from 7 to 5 by this point.
Little closer up view. Now that I look at this I realize this shot is of the samples with only one coat. The pictures above and below this one show better coverage. The shelves will be painted a brighter white as well.
A little more context. Which one do you think we chose? Answer will be posted later this week.

26 thoughts on “Will my library be Persephone Gray?

  1. Nadia September 6, 2010 / 10:20 pm

    Love all those books! As far as color goes, I like the second one (starting from the left side).


  2. Mrs. B. September 6, 2010 / 11:35 pm

    Nice, nice…I love it! I love the second color from the left best.


  3. Hannah Stoneham September 7, 2010 / 3:05 am

    I think I like the second from the left – the one that is a little bluey… Your home looks so cosy and industrious!


  4. teadevotee.com September 7, 2010 / 5:14 am

    Can't look at the colours…too busy drooling over your library!*renters envy*


  5. Molly September 7, 2010 / 7:25 am

    I am so “imaginatively” impaired that I really can't visualize how the room will look in a different color. But I do know this – no matter what color you choose, I absolutely LOVE all those filled bookshelves :)


  6. Susan in TX September 7, 2010 / 8:49 am

    Second from the left if it's going to be all the way around the room. Otherwise I'd be afraid of making the room too dark and gloomy. If you are just doing the back wall behind the book shelves with the white shelves to lighten it, then a darker shade would work. (Don't you just love all this “informed opinion” based on a couple of sample pictures? Forgive the “knowledgeable tone.” :) )


  7. Susan in TX September 7, 2010 / 8:50 am

    So, after another look, the far right sample would be my second choice, but now I'm going to stop!


  8. savidgereads September 7, 2010 / 10:07 am

    Oooh I dont know as all the shades are nice and its all dependent on the mood you are in when you look at them… hmmmm tough decision. Looks an amazing room though, most envious.


  9. Toby Worthington September 7, 2010 / 11:18 am

    Now if this were posted on one of the myriad design blogs you'd already have a hundred opinions based on the merest sliver of evidence. But your readers are more interested in books, bless them. Mine is the opinion of a decorator who loves books and architecture and atmosphere equally. Which is to say that I feel you are on the right track whatever shade of grey is chosen, so long as it isn't a cold, north-facing room. Colour does have its own psychology. But the best thing about your decision is the understanding that white walls will never make a dark room brighter or bigger.


  10. Paperback Reader September 7, 2010 / 12:44 pm

    Ooh, lovely idea! I love them all but then I'm a big fan of grey and anything that remotely complements Persephone books.

    I have an amusing (I think) Persephone-related story to share… I have been wanting to name one of our cats -when we finally adopt them- Persephone (and the boy wants to name the other Hades)- and was informed last weekend by boy's parents that his sister likes Persephone as a name if she ever has a daughter. As we don't intend on having children I do hope that I can use the name for one of our cats – besides, I think it is a hideous name for a child!


  11. Thomas at My Porch September 7, 2010 / 1:46 pm

    I assume all of you are commenting on the paint sample boards when indicating your favorites. I kind of confused the issue by having more than one picture with different colors.

    Bibliophile By the Sea: I would be happy with almost any of them so it was hard to narrow it down.

    Nadia, Mrs. B, and Hannah: That one is called Oxford Gray and it has a kind of Wedgwood quality to it. Unfortunately on the wood grain panelling it looked far too Holly Hobby. And since I am not going to put up calico curtains we eliminated that one from contention.

    Teadevotee: It is nice to finally own a library.

    Molly: The color is really secondary to the main event isn't it?

    Susan in TX: The shelves are going to be all white and in a much brighter shade than current. I would say that between shelves and windows, only about 40% of the room will be gray.

    Simon: It was a tough decision. And even though we have made the choice, I still look at some of the others and wonder…

    Toby: Well we do run a risk because it is northeast-facing. The fireplace and abundance of books should help mitigate the coolish color. Problem is I like a warm room but I am almost universally drawn to cool paint colors. The good news is this is a temporary solution. Within the next two years or so the room will be gutted.

    Claire: As long as Persephone is a girl's name it might do okay. It has kind of a Harry Potter-Hermione chic. I do think that naming a cat Hades might be tempting fate…


  12. Darlene September 7, 2010 / 1:50 pm

    The popular choice seems to be the second example but I'm partial to the second one from the end. Very atmospheric and with white accents…very striking! Looking forward to seeing which one it's going to be!


  13. Ti September 7, 2010 / 2:32 pm

    I am commenting on the last photo, of the 5 on the wall. Of those 5, I choose the very first one on the left. It's dark, but a true gray (in my opinion) and with the white shelving, it will look quite striking.


  14. Dorothy W. September 7, 2010 / 8:32 pm

    How lovely to get glimpses of your bookshelves! I'd love to be able to browse through them a bit!


  15. Marianna September 7, 2010 / 10:18 pm

    Second from the right…the one with a little more blue in. The gray will look wonderful against the bright white. Lucky you to have so many wonderful built-in shelves!


  16. Thomas at My Porch September 8, 2010 / 9:34 am

    Darlene: That is a pretty one, but it turned out to be too much of a color. Not gray enough.

    Ti: If I were handing out a prize you would win it for choosing the one we chose. In the picture of the samples it is on the far right.

    Dorothy: You can come over any time your like.

    Marianna: The shelves were one of the reasons we bought the house.


  17. Susan in TX September 8, 2010 / 10:29 am

    I think I made my choice from the pic where you actually have the paint on the wall (if that matters). GUT THE ROOM?? Do tell us what you are planning for those lovely shelves! Now you've really got me curious.


  18. R Elliott September 8, 2010 / 4:16 pm

    But if you paint it grey, won't the Persephones fade into the wall?

    Whatever you decide to do, it will look super!


  19. A Bookish Space September 8, 2010 / 5:05 pm

    I really like the second from the left. I was comtemplating painting our kitchen a Persephone grey, but my boyfriend wasn't keen unfortunately. Looking forward to seeing your painted library (and how envious I am that you have a library – that is one of my all time dreams!).


  20. Danielle September 9, 2010 / 9:01 am

    I'm not very good at choosing colors, but I love the idea of painting the room a shade of gray–very nice. Lovely shelves and you really do have a porch. Good luck with the redecorating!


  21. Thomas at My Porch September 10, 2010 / 3:28 pm

    Susan: Don't worry the gutting would be for new walls and new shelves. The current shelves are quite cheaply made and may not be up to the challenge of my books.

    R Elliott: Are you the famous R Elliott, the Canadian ex-pat living in the Netherlands? Thanks for stopping by.

    A Bookish Space: It is a bit of a dream come true.

    Danielle: I had the blog about four years before I actually got the porch. Nice to have the prophecy fulfilled.


  22. Vintage Reading September 10, 2010 / 8:11 pm

    Dunno. I have no eye for colour, but I think it's a great idea!


  23. R Elliott September 12, 2010 / 6:56 am

    Thomas at My Porch – yes it is the very same famous ex-pat you mention. I am enjoying your porch and all of your lovely friends.

    BTW – When I was in Berlin, I found a little epistolary booklet by some American female journalist writing in the 30s. It was an imagined correspondence between a San Fran Jew and a German friend who goes Nazi. She wrote under a masculine pen name. Do you know which one I'm talking about? It was very good and great to read in Berlin. I've lost it…


  24. Thomas at My Porch September 13, 2010 / 9:50 am

    Vintage Reader: I don't have all that good an eye for color either. That's why I needed theose big paint samples.

    R Elliott: The book you mention sounds fascinating. I think you may be talking about Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor.


  25. R Elliott September 14, 2010 / 3:18 pm

    Yes – that was the book! I loved it and it made me think of you.


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